Red Bull’s Formula One racing team just broke the world record for the fastest pit stop. And then they did it again a few weeks later.
The complex ballet of an F1 pit stop would be glorious to watch if it weren’t over in around 2 seconds. Actually, less than 2 seconds if you race for Red Bull’s team. They now hold the record for the world’s fastest pit stop. And they even beat their own record not a few weeks after the first time they broke it.
Red Bull’s first record-breaking pit was done earlier in July at the British Grand Prix. Pierre Gasly pulled it to exchange his tires and the pit crew managed to swap out all four wheels in just 1.91 seconds. That was 0.01 seconds faster than the previous record, which was held by both Red Bull and Williams Racing.
If you’re wondering how pit stops can be done so quickly these days, there are a few reasons. First, refueling is no longer allowed in Formula One, so there’s no wasting time with a fueling hose and waiting to pump gas. Second, all F1 wheels are center-locking, which means the pit crew only has one nut to tighten in order to bolt on a new set of rubber. Since the screw is threaded in the opposite direction to the rotation of the tires, there’s no risk of the wheel falling off during normal driving.
There’s plenty of risk during a crash, but racers always assume they won’t crash.
The second record was set a few weeks later at the German Grand Prix. On lap 46, driver Max Verstappen pulled into pit box 4 to refresh his tires. Red Bull’s team of professionals swapped out each wheel in just 1.88 seconds. Don’t blink or you might miss it.
This puts Red Bull in a commanding lead in the 2019 DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award Rankings, where the next closest team is Williams at 1.99 seconds.
There are still plenty of races left in the current season, so we might yet see Red Bull set more records before it's over.